Robots: Now built at IUSB

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Staff Writer

Students from The Purdue College of Technology at IU South Bend will be traveling to West Lafayette on April 27 for the first annual Sumo-Bot Challenge at Purdue University.

IUSB Robot

Sumo robots are robots designed to challenge another robot. The two machines clash and attempt to push one another out of the ring, like traditional sumo wrestling. The robot that wins two out of the three rounds wins the match and advances to the next stage of the competition. The matches are also timed and in the event that neither robot is pushed out of the arena, the robot that moves the most or makes the most noise wins. The competition is also divided into weight classes.

“We’re doing the international class, which is the eleven pound, nine inch by nine inch class. There are also miniature classes, which is what this robot was designed for,” said John Piller, a continuing lecturer for electrical engineering technologies at the Purdue College of Technology and the faculty advisor for the Purdue South Bend Controls Society. “We’re gonna throw the miniature class in, this is the lightweight going against the heavy weights trying to not die.”

“We’re going to evade since we’re this little itty miniature guy. They’re going to continuously search and attack us, and we’re going to continuously evade,” said Piller. “It’s a big circle, so what we’re going to do is head towards the side and go around the circle till we run into the other guy, then go the other way. We’re going to try and maintain that and hopefully win through the brackets, with plan of action rather than actual brute force.”

Each team for the event will be composed of four people. South Bend’s team will be composed of members of the Controls Society.

The Controls Society is an IUSB club that focuses on forming connections between the school and local businesses, creating funding for student participation in tradeshows and conferences and demonstrating technological skills in various displays, like the Sumo Bot challenge.

Although the club focuses on students from The Purdue Technology Building, Piller encourages all IUSB students who are interested to come out.

“With the Controls Society, our hope was to connect some of our students who don’t have direct connections with local industries around here. The industries talk to the professors here and the professors talk to the students. One of the things I saw while I worked at West Lafayette was that there were a multitude of societies and clubs that also had companies interested in their students after graduation. So that was one of the goals, to give the students that communication,” said Piller.

The group has plans to try and secure funding to send students to trade shows and conferences, as well as setting up nights where students and community members could learn basic technological skills by constructing various kits with practical uses.

Although this is the first competition for the Controls Society and the first Sumo Bot competition Purdue University has hosted, Piller has big plans for future events.

“We’re hoping that if this is a valid competition, to go ahead and host a one of our own and invite the community. Purdue has been very quiet down here at the bottom of the hill, I’m trying to be loud and proud,” said Piller. “If this is a successful first run, we would like to do the fall invitational in South Bend, so that West Lafayette can come here and so could other institutions. We’re going to try to invite Notre Dame people, invite IUSB people and anyone who would like to compete.”

More information on The Purdue College of Technology at IUSB can be found online at More information on the Sumo But challenge and the Controls Society can be found by contacting John Piller at

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